DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s Purchasers Managers Index (PMI) rose in May, rebounding from its all-time low seen in April, indicating moderate improvement in business conditions, according to Emirates NBD. The kingdom’s PMI rose to 53.2 in May, from 51.4 in April.

“While the May PMI posted the highest reading this year, the index is still low by historical standards and reflects a slower rate of growth in the non-oil private sector than last year,” Khatija Haque, Head of MENA Research at Emirates NBD, said in a statement.

“The survey data suggests that government spending and higher oil prices year-to-date are not boosting economic activity as much as they have in the past, although firms remained highly optimistic about their future prospects,” Haque said.

Output growth at non-oil private sector companies accelerated in May. Inflows of new orders from abroad deteriorated for the fourth month in a row. Furthermore, the latest decline was moderate overall and the fastest for a year, the survey revealed.

Job creation eased to a six-month low in May. “Despite the rate of growth so far this year having been well below the long-run trend, the overall level of positive sentiment at non-oil private sector firms remained elevated, signalling strong optimism towards future growth prospects,” according to the statement.

Business conditions in the Egyptian non-oil private sector declined during May, with marginal declines observed for output and new orders. The Emirates NBD Purchasing Managers’ Index for Egypt slipped back below the neutral 50 mark in May, after moving to expansion territory in April.